Budget battle in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The city budget committee voted to reduce the number of city fire inspectors from 8 to 5 Monday night. In a 3-4 vote the committee, made up of council members, voted to eliminate the positions to help save money.

The committee makes recommendations to the full city council.

City staff told the committee that the increased workload on the five inspectors would not have an impact on public safety.

“Those three inspectors…they do nothing but fire inspection, the other employees in that office have a lot of other responsibilities with fire investigations in the city..training and teaching,” said David Pollard with the Winston-Salem Professional Fire Fighters Association.

More than a dozen members of the association attended the meeting on Monday night.

Pollard is worried the cuts could hurt the quality of complete inspections and safety of everyone.

“You can’t expect the 3 people who have no other focus other than doing a complete inspection and then you are going to take that and put that on people that have other responsibility as well,” Pollard asked.

Committee members Dan Besse, James Taylor and Derwin Montgomery voted against the inspector cuts.

Two public hearings will be scheduled before the entire city council makes a final decision.